EDITOR’S LETTER I knew I wanted to become a writer in Grade 5, right after my English teacher finished reading the first chapter of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer that is when I knew. I am sure that I am one of many who have been profoundly affected by a piece of great literature. Whether it is Tom Sawyer or Twilight, many of us will have a strong memory that is associated with a writer or a book that is special to us. Yes, literature is the notion behind the theme of this edition of MindMap-SA, our third issue. That cou-pled with the fact that, that this edition was initially supposed to be about music, but eventually I was convinced that this has been done to death and something wordier would be worth-while. Throughout these pages you will notice an interesting fusion of analysis, opinion, history and a great degree of look-ing forth at what lies ahead in the world of the written word. Phillippa Yaa De Villiers speaks on working with Chinese poets. being labeled as a ‘jazz writer’ and questioned why she cut her hair. Wilhelmina Maboja to Matthew Savides. In her writ-ings, Wilhemina considers the shifting paradigm that is world literature and the many narratives that will play a key role on the future of books as we know them. And the winner of the Vodacom journalist of the year award, Mathew Savides re-counts the horrific experience of reading the same book three times in three different formats. Finally, our last word Col-umnist Pumla Luthuli pontificates on why Shakespeare sucks. In putting this issue of the magazine together, it is safe to say that I, along with our contributors have learnt quite a bit about the creative processes that go behind putting to-gether a page turner. From the author’s idea to the design-er laying out the final sleeve. There is a constantly moving chain of creativity. And although the author might get the most praise in the end, it almost goes without saying that, making a book is a team effort. And although we might not like to say this, perhaps, that is one of the aspects that have made the
printed page so appealing and so endearing. Away from books and all things nerdy, Nomfundo Mgabadeli considers gay marriage and the impact it has in South Africa. On the other end, Sim Mbatha explains why sport is more than just a game. All of this is jam packed into this blockbuster edition of MindMap-SA. Please rate or post your comments conserning this issue on your Facebook page as well as on Twitter. We would love to hear what book has had the greatest effect on your life and what book has got you excited or angry or perhaps a little bit of both. So from me until next time, keep mapping out. Thank you for supporting MindMap-SA magazine.
54 70 72
THE GREAT JAZZ POET: PHILLIPPA YAA DE VILLIERS Words by: Sihle Mthembu
16 18 22 24 28 34 38 44 46 48 50 52
THE STATE OF LITERATURE
JUDGING A BOOK BY IT’S COVER
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ
Words by: Matthew Savides
POETRY CLUB BLUES
Words by: Busiswa Gqulu
ZEITGEIST MAN Words
by: Shivana Naidoo
Words by: Franciscs Mtshali
SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS IDENTITY
Words by: Russell Hlongwane
CORRECTING THE MISCONCEPTION
Words by: Wendy Ngcobo
THE LAST WORD ON SHAKESPEARE
Words by: Pumla Luthuli
Words by: Sihle Mthembu
Q and A with THISHIWE ZIQUBU NELSON MANDELA
Words by: Kyle Steven Allan
ZULU BLOGGING Words by:
THROUGH THE SCOPE
Words by: Nompilo Mnchunu
Words by: Wilhemina Maboja
Words by: Sihle Mthembu
GAY AND LESBIAN MARRIAGE
Words by: Nomfundo Mgabadeli
A MAN’S SHOES
Words by: Style Guru
GARDEN OF FASHION
Words by: Nomfundo Mgabadeli
Words by: Khulekani Magubane
Words by: Sihle Mthembu
Words by: Khulekani Magubane
SPORTS AND MOTORING
THE RUINS: WHY THE 90’S SUCKED BRING BACK THE 90’S
Words by: Nosipho Mngoma
GREY STREET DAYS
Words by: Lauren Beaukes
THE BELIEBERS Words by: Sabelosami Dlungwane
79 80 82
Words by: Khulekani Magubane
BEFORE THE FIRST WHISTLE
Words by: Ndabenhle Mthembu
MORE THAN A GAME
Words by: Sim Mbatha
THE PONY CAR Words by: Matthew Veeran
Photography: Nhlanhla Mthembu
THE GREAT JAZZ POET
PHILLIPPA YAA DE VILLIERS
Recently I was given a brief by an editor to write a “humorous and engaging article on the State of literature in South Africa.” I was amused by this for several reasons, chief of which was the fact that although not explicitly this brief assumes that South Africa literature is a single thing. That these diverging narratives can be summarized in a singular convenient phrase. But my alarm was only raised further by the fact that upon close inspection I could not help but notice that South African writers in general and poets specifically do not seem to share the same concern. WORDS: Sihle Mthembu
This is particularly surprising considering her background. Born in 1966 as Tandy Jane Alcock Amamoo, Phillippa Yaa de Villiers to mixed race parents. She is widely credited as being the first trans-racial adoptee in South Africa. Something which she admits not only shaped her upbringing but her outlook on life. “In a way it politicized me. I had an inside view of how power works in our society, and quite a distorted view of people and what to expect from them. Like the country as a whole, when I realized what was going on and what I wanted to change I had to process the racism that is part of our exist-ence and the legacy of the former rulers.” It is that meticulous attention to processing that makes her one of South Africa’s true great literacy enigmas. Her ability to transition seamlessly from poetry to prose makes her a marvel to watch. She is the kind of writer who provides an experience through her work and has very few adjectives that could fully capture the sum of her talent. Although she began writing reasonably early in her life she worked as a script-writer for more than a decade before her first collection of poetry entitled ‘Taller than buildings’ was published in 2006. Speaking on what attracted her to the written word Phillippa highlighted the importance of writing as a tool for memory. This concern can be seen scattered throughout her work as she
illuminates events and describes people that have shaped her character. “I loved reading and telling and hearing stories. As a teenager the emotional pressure of pretending to be what I was not (a normal white girl) sent me to write all my thoughts in journals.” She says “The paper absorbed all my feelings of not fitting in, in the worlds that I read myself into and wrote myself into, I was always where I was supposed to be. Writing was like a pressure valve that stabilised and equalised me.” Although now she can be firmly put under the category of the stable Phillippa is still very much concerned, not only about the significance of the different literatures in this country but also about how they depict our nation’s ever changing realities. As a writer she has been very vocal on issues of class as well as gender. But what makes her stand out from the indulgent crowd of South African intellectuals is that she avoids speak-ing in utopian terms. Her ideas are not littered with rhetoric or random quoting of Frantz Fanon or Steve Biko, nor does she parade her wide diction for her audience to see. Rather she adopts an almost individualistic method to her thinking. Articulating the importance of tailor made solutions for in-dividuals. Microcosming her points of view right down to the most meticulous detail. As part of her involvement with the young writers, she has judged many poetry slams and the likes, something she admits has been an interesting learning experi-ence but also something that has made her keenly aware of the troubles that face young writers locally. “The constant, intense, relationship with words and meanings. The beauty of language. The contact with other writers and their works. I have no idea where it is going. What would really help writers is a more proactive government standpoint on reading and literature. For example to drop the VAT on books.
Renowned poet Phillippa Yaa De Villiers is concerned. In fact she is so concerned she has chosen to break out of the cli-chés of poets being morosed and sitting around in dark rooms with short guns, surrounded by reams of paper whilst brewing about the impossibility of life. She does not take herself that seriously; De Villiers has instead opted to participate more actively in shaping the dialogue in the local poetry scene. Through her advocacy, her writings and talks, she represents a kind of irreverent yet various need to express that is be-coming synonymous with a lot of the female voices from her generation.
De Villiers served as editor of the book which collects writ-ings from all over the continent and also has them translated into Chinese. Speaking on how the project was conceived she said that it came as a result of the ever increasing notoriety and significance of African poetry in China. “The project was initiated by Mr Xiancheng Hu of the Moonchu Foundation, a visual artist and philanthropist who wanted Chinese people to have access to African poetry. Mr Xiancheng funded the entire project as well as inviting me and Isabel, one of the other editors, to join Kaiyu the Chinese editor who super-vised the translations, in Shanghai and Kaifeng for the launch of the book.” The resulting work is a great mixture of poets from the continent’s “golden age” to the less illusioned modern ones. Names like Wole Soyinka and Keorapetse Kgositsile stand out as the senior statesmen in the anthology. Notably upon reading what lies within the covers of the book one cannot help but get a feeling of a sense nervousness that is being expressed by writ-ers, regardless of the time in which they are writing. Nervous-ness about the future but also nervousness about the changing role of the individual in society. This theme is perhaps most potently expressed in the preface to the book where Phillippa says “You will not find serenity between these pages, you will find voices struggling, laughing, weeping, voices that are alive”
Although primarily billed as a poet one cannot nullify the significance of womanhood in Phillippa’s writings. Having been keenly influenced by the likes of Tsitsi Dangbarengba and Toni Morrison, she has also struck up collaborative efforts with a number of her female contemporaries, including the likes of Myesha Jenkins, Napo Masheane, Makhosazana Xaba and Lebo Mashile amongst others. Speaking on the significance of the resurgence of these almost neo-feminist voices Phillippa not-ed that it was good to see such an increased female presence in literature, but it was important to maintain this momentum going forward. “I am glad that more women are writing – that means that they have the means to do it, the support and the time.” She says “Nevertheless as long as girl-children are kept away from school, young women are not encouraged to study further, and women generally are devalued in our society it means very little – literally the paper those noble thoughts are printed on. It’s an ongoing struggle” In an attempt to document and articulate these struggles she has been involved in a number of projects. Her latest work is the recently published Anthology entitled ‘No Serenity here’.
Speaking on the experience of editing such a work Phillippa said that it was an important grounding experience and helped her discover or rediscover a lot of writing from the various parts of the continent. “It was a privilege to be forced to read tons of African poetry over the three months to make the book. That was the first thing, it was a pleasure also to construct the book like a poetry session, taking people on a journey hearing different voices and images.” Currently she is working with Afurukan on a few projects as well as being a screenwriter for season two of the critically acclaimed Inter-sextions. De Villiers is also hosting seminars with other writers in conjunction with Spoken Mind and although she is still very worried she is eloquently translating that worry into direct action. A page that many local writers would do well to take out of her book.
That would be a great start. Often the people who are in charge of our work don’t have a passion for it, which is very discouraging.” She says “I wish there was a way to allow litera-ture and oral literature to cross pollinate: that’s what we’re trying to do with spoken word. Part of that is to have aesthet-ic standards that the work has to live up to. It’s a bit difficult but I have been asked to contribute to that by judging slams and in that way I get to talk to young people about literature.”
Literature, in all its forms, is possibly one of the most precious abstract human commodities. It’s only tangible in its published forms, but its value lies in the fact that it can only be translated on a cerebral level. But gone are the days when the likes of Jane Austen, Chinua Achebe and Arthur Miller works under your belt meant that you were well read. Today, any Twilight series novel by Stephenie Meyer will do. Fantasy novels are racking up the points and shooting up international bestseller lists and shoving the Malcom Gladwells down to second and third place. Despite the mocking tones behind vampires that sparkle and grown men flying on brooms, fantasy fiction has done something society has struggled to do for decades: get people reading. In the past, the likes of C. S Lewis and J. R. R Tolkien were the kings of fantasy fiction, immersing you into their world so deeply that, upon returning to your own world, time seems somewhat warped. Despite the end of the Harry Potter se-ries, English author J. K Rowling’s literary grip on the world couldn’t be more firm. The story may have ended but the T-shirts, games, posters, stationery and other products show that it was more than just a story, but a franchise.
THE STATE OF LITERATURE LIVING IN THE TIME OF A LITERATURE REVOLUTION WORDS: Wilhemina Maboja
Imagine sitting in the park one day, stretched over a blanket and deep into a book, when some-one suddenly looms over you with their shadow. Quietly, they settle themselves next to you and begin to tell you every detail of their life. It should sound familiar, because it’s been hap-pening to you ever since you could read. There is also a possibility that you’ve experienced this several times a year and even more in your lifetime, because this is how we read books. Authors are the only strangers we let into our homes and lives without question, perch them comfort-ably on a shelf overlooking a study, a cluttered bedside table or on a kitchen counter. We let them oversee the culinary and other daily rituals that only those who lived within those four walls would know.
The world has now created an ingrained need to always be digitally connected to the rest of the world, as though one day of no communication with the cyber world would mean we don’t exist. With 2.7 million tweets per hour, it’s no wonder we find more time online than in front of a book. There is a constant pressure to create, update and maintain an active online presence. This, however, is at the expense of a shelf of books gathering dust and quickly becoming a termite’s heaven. Our online presence matters more than our actual intellec-tual nourishment. What is a well-Tweeted person if they can count the number of books they’ve read in a year in one hand? Where there are book lovers, there are book loathers. There are those who started hating reading from an early age. Of the many reasons, blaming the sometimes horrendous choice of set work books by the education system is a justifiable start. Yes, the intention behind prescribing Shakespeare has its mer-its but in all his excellence, there is only so much of Romeo and Juliet a high school student can relate to. Relating is also part of learning, which is something that the old cronies in the South African Department of Education may have missed out on. If spanking new books such as ‘I ain’t your bitch’ by Jabulile Bongiwe Ngwenya, ‘Young Blood’ by Sifiso Mzobe and ‘Zoo City’ by Lauren Beukes were also part of the set work, which are all set in our country, Shakespeare would maybe go down a little easier. Unfortunately, there is more of a focus on
In his article entitled “The lost art of reading”, Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin explains that we’re living in a culture where it’s more important to react rather than to actually think: which could be why some are reading Twilight: Not for the thrill but to become part of the reaction crowd, crooning, trashing and rating but not actually marvelling at the craft of storytelling, and a sparkly vampire in between. This is not to say that all readers of popular literature are peddlers of fakery, but rather that the art of reading has been replaced with Jumping on the Bandwagon Syndrome. This may be a downside, but leeches, after all, are keeping publishing houses alive. This may be the new breed of readers, but the value of literature remains the same despite decades of undergoing renovation. A book gives you an experience that is not your own, but one that resonates and lingers long after you’ve finished it. Like a child, it can wrap around your waist with its legs and latch on to you. Sometimes there will be laughter and tenderness and other times pure irritation and a severe backache. A good piece of literature always comes along suddenly, as plain as day and woos you with all the qualities you’ve ever wanted in a lover. Regardless of your position in space or time, it opens its cover and reveals its plain and soft nakedness with a nar-rative too irresistible to put down. As long as this thrill and enticement exists, so, too, shall the art form that is literature.
However, the advent of the iPad and Kindle has started a brewing war with the paperback, raising questions as to whether publishing houses will continue to thrive in a world where e-books are much cheaper and more accessible than the printed text. It is this very digital age that has us in frenzy, constantly updating our online presence as if a Facebook sta-tus update a day would keep the doctor away, keeping Mark Zuckerberg laughing all the way to the bank every minute.
Western authors than our very own. Regardless, literature in the country still thrives. The Open Book Cape Town Festival from 21 to 25 September was launched for the first time this year, with the likes of Adriaan Basson, Veronique Tadjo, Chris Van Wyk and newcomer Sifiso Mzobe attending. Other similar festivals include the Franschoek Literary Festival and the Jozi and Cape Town Book Fairs as well at Durban’s Time of the writer. The fact that there’s more than one book festival in the country means that South Africans are reading and most importantly, investing in local talent.
JUDGING A BOOK BY ITâ€™S COVER The average book reader does not have a good idea of the threads of the history on literature. In fact they mostly care about the book they are reading now. And with the wide selection of books available rang-ing from fiction to non-fiction, poetry and many others, the market is saturated with content.
WORDS: Sihle Mthembu
1. Quirkiness - often a humorous cover with an intelligent use of space will get your attention. Often elements of such a cover are abstract and might not be seen at first glance but one noticed might spark a chuckle at the creativity. 2. A good cover will always have something that is a direct reference to the content or idea of the book. The cover must build an image in mind of the person who is looking at it. That image must point at something they can expect from reading the book. 3. Text - perhaps the use of text is one of the fundamental elements. Often book covers use bright and bold text to attract your eye. The innovative use of fonts and the way they are layed out is innovative. Some covers might have 3D looking text whilst other designers opt for a more traditional flat text layout. 4. Simplicity - A book cover must be attractive enough to draw your attention but simple enough to have recognizable elements that you can look at. Covers that are too busy often turn readers off, because they imply that the book is saturated with content and too many ideas. 5. Color - many book covers use traditional colors and colors like purple are hardly ever used, but if employed correctly color can add some much needed life to a book cover.
And as digital formats begin making an impact, printed books need to find new and innovative ways to attract readers. The age old selling point of a book has been the cover. As the old saying goes donâ€™t judge a book by its cover, many people however still do this. So publishing houses pay good money to designers and illus-trators to make and layout that captivating sleeve. Here is a small guide on some principles of good book design.
Kopano Matlwa is somewhat of an accidental writer. The prize winning author of two bestsellers, she is actually a doctor by profession. But her love for books started at an early age although she admits she did not write very much when she was young. “I wrote my first short story in grade 6, but my English teacher wrote ugly things all over it in a red pen, sending my heart right into my boots. I didn’t write again for a very long time.” But judging from the depth of charectarisation in her novels Matlwa is certainly a natural talent. Her debut novel ‘Coconut’ won the EU literary prize and her second book entitled ‘Split Milk’ has also been well received by both fans of her work as well as newcomers to her writing. She has the ability to infuse her narratives with youthful exuberance in a quirky and compassionate way. Making her one of the most unique young voices in South African literature. And the fact that she is a Toni Morrison fan certainly
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ AND HOW YOU READ...
As books are slowly being replaced by electronics, Matthew Savides decided it was time for a challenge. It would be Kindle vs Tablet vs Printed page. It’s an image that has long imprinted itself on my memory. It’s a man sitting in front of a fireplace engrossed in the yellowish-brown pages of the book he cradles in his hand. It’s a love affair with literature. Never before have I actually seen a man – or woman, for that matter – in such a scenario, but it still seems like the bibliophile’s dream. But this image is changing. The fireplace might still be the same. The wing-backed chair might remain unchanged. Hell, even the person might still have those bookworm clichés of wear-ing glasses. It’s the book, however, that’s significantly different – for starters, it isn’t even a book anymore. WORDS: Matthew Savides
The challenge: find out which platform provides
the best reading expirience, Kindle, tablet or printed page. The mission: in one week, read the same book on all three platforms to make a fair comparison. The difficulty: finding a fireplace to sit in front of given that it’s springtime in Durban. Before the comparison could even begin there was a massive stumbling block – which book should be used? The options were seemingly endless. Go with a modern tale or one of the classics? Or maybe a selection of short stories would be best? No, wait! What about non-fiction? What a mission just to de -cide. Eventually I chose ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by J. D. Salinger. Arguably, one of the greatest books ever writ-ten, the story of Holden Caulfield is one that has stayed with me almost as long as the man-reading-in-front-of-fireplace has. It was the first book I ever fell in love with and it started my journey into unashamed bibliophilia. It was the natural choice. The hard-copy was up first. I lay on the couch and opened up the soft outer cover, reminded again of the trip I was about to. take. Yes, I’m possibly romanticising it, but I don’t care. Before I knew it I was 100 pages in and engrossed. The way the pages
felt and the sound they made as I turned them was real. It made me feel actively involved in the process. The next day the book was finished and put back on the shelf. Next up in my reading marathon was the tablet. Let me start by saying that I love my tablet. There is no gadget I like more. But reading a book on it is a nightmare. It’s too big, too bulky and difficult to sit with comfortably. Having to slide my finger across the screen to turn pages was more ef -fort than it was worth – and the fake page-turning sound was just annoying. I lumbered through the book, feeling none of the passion I would have expected. It wasn’t fun. Not even a little bit. At this point I was turned off e-books dreadfully. I wanted nothing to do with them. “Throw them in the ocean,” I might have even blurted out. But then came the Kindle and only one word can describe it: “Wow.” One-touch page turning, crystal clear text, lightweight and portable. It was an abso-lute pleasure. But there was something missing. I felt detached, like I wasn’t actually reading it. I was staring at a screen, not reading a book. It just wasn’t the same. I could get used to it, though, make no doubt about that. What a product. Thus end-ed the challenge. So what of the results? The fact that books are so readily accessible electronically at a fraction of the cost is wonderful. It’s also “cool” to have e-books and to own a tablet, so that will (hopefully) get people reading. But it’s just not the same as the printed page. Nothing will beat the feel of holding a masterpiece in your hands as you are actively in-volved in each and every word. And besides, the image of the man reading in front of a fire place just looks really kak when it isn’t really a book. Matthew is a journalist at the Sun-day Tribune newspaper in Durban. He writes in his personal capacity.
Kindles, tablets and smartphones are becoming increasingly common reading mediums, particularly the latter of the three. It has even become possible to “read” on your iPod or MP3 player thanks to the development of audiobooks. Yep, that’s right. Some lovely-sounding man or woman – or even a com-bination of the two – will now read books to you so you don’t have to do it yourself. People are no longer reading books the way their parents did and certainly not the way their parents’ parents did. Even the seemingly untouchable world of printed literature is being forced to adapt to modern changes. And it’s a change that I’m loathed to accept – but I know I will have to. Just two weeks ago I loaded more than 400 books onto my tablet. My mom has seven installed on her Kindle. I have a physical book collection that spreads across two book shelves. It was time to make a comparison, I figured, just to find out which one is best.
It’s not a misprint, I said poetential – a new word I invented which means “poetic potential’ or “potential in poetics”. In Joburg, however, competition is the cornerstone of every individual’s ambition regardless of their chosen industry, and poetry is no exception. On any week, you can attend up to 7 poetry or open mic shows, most with creative names like New Material Mondays, encouraging performers to constantly attempt new works rather than revel in the admiring “ooh’s”, “aah’s” and snaps he hears when he recites the “famous” poem he wrote in 2002.
POETRY CLUB BLUES
As an honorary Durbanite, I have been an avid participant in the poetry sub-culture scene for close to a decade. When I recently made an ex-perimental move to Joburg for a few months, this is what my mentor, Prof Pitika Ntuli, said to me: “that’s good…now you will get real oppor-tunities.” I assumed that after living in Durban for around 2 decades himself, he was eluding to the fact that Durban is bound in the levels it can take to as a performer and artists. WORDS: Busiswa Gqulu
Let me start by stating that for many, poetry is a hobby and a pastime. A fashion fad for the intellectual that many will outgrow, or perhaps will be too busy for and a further more will even put down as a mindless phase of dreads, fascination with rhyming words and senseless punch-lines unreasonable reasoning, until you get into the real world, get a “9-to-5” and let the next generation of “poets” take over.
Poets like Mxolisi “Zulu Love Letter” Mtshali, Sakhile “EssTee Pee” Shabalala and Xoli “Zion” Vilakazi were the ca-labre of poets that were groomed in the controversial move-ment. Controversial because so many claim to have been one of the founders of what is undoubtedly still Durban’s biggest weekly Like any other talent-based activity, poetry has the potential to of- poetry gathering. Those who regularly attend sessions currently fer an income to those who don’t fall into the above major-ity. So, will agree that there is a surge of new poets who mimmick the like music or film let us take a few minutes to consider poetry as a reciting styles and mannerisms of the above-mentioned poets real sector within the entertainment industry. This is particularly in with no shame. reference to poetry for the stage: a relatively new dynamic made popular by performers rather than writers. Economics 101 tells us It’s always sad to sit in an audience and wonder whether the that the essential growth and flourish -ing poet thinks uyas’shaya-shaya, or does he think we have not all of any industry has one characteristic (amongst others) in common:seen the person they are copying, or does the naïve performer COMPETITION. The fiercer the competition, the more rapid think that biting styles is a dignified way of showing a poet the growth of that industry. This is based mainly on the fact that that you admire them a lot? Whatever it may be, this dynamic when faced with healthy competition, people wanting to succeed makes it harder to convince new audiences to come to po-etry in that industry will find more exciting and innovative ways to pre- shows because they think poets are just people who talk like sent themselves to the market, no mat-ter how small the market is. Mzwakhe Mbuli if they are Zulu, and Lebo Mashile if they The more exciting things become, the bigger the market becomes. perform in English. It causes the industry to lose credibility to POETENTIAL new customers…
Durban has developed its own major media platforms over the years which also present opportunities to gain prestige as a poet in KZN. It is the home-base for no less than 5 commercial national or provincial radio stations, major na-tional newspapers and an almost fully-functional branch of the national broadcaster, all of which are less than 30km’s apart. Maybe as Durban poets we have not given these media arms enough reason to give a large placement to Durban’s poetry industry. Some have tried. Gagasi 99.5 even had a dedicated poetry halfhour at one stage thanks to airwave-maker King Si-fiso. That was slowly and painfully phased out: first the poems HAD to be pre-recorded, then they were dropped altogether, with rumors of the station’s agitation with the low-quality and irrelevance of some of the work that was aired. It seems Durban poets are struggling to connect with “the masses”. It seems Durban poets enjoy being an exclusive group of misun-derstood rebels with a cause who are thought to smoke weed and receive messages from the gods. Poets in Joburg are competitive, whether they say so or not but you feel it in the exhilaration when attending a session with a “limited” open mic slot or if you go to one of their many slams. Slams like the House of Hunger or the Word ‘n Sound Series raise the bar with prizes like trips to Swaziland and the USA for poets dubbed the best. Yet most believe they are the best and understand the need to find a unique voice so as to stand out from the rest. The result is a wide array of poetry showcases, competitions, publications, compilations being sold at every show and poets who don’t let such plat-forms go to waste. When was the last time Durban poets collaborated to publish an anthology or compilation, I shudder to think of such a time?
Tumelo Khoza and Ingonyama for tireless activism of all things poetry, Mxo Mtshali for his efforts to change commercial perceptions of poetry, and Ewok for, well, SO MUCH! Most who attend sessions can’t match these people’s contributions to the “movement” but when big, paying poetry shows come along, they feel they deserve to be on the line-up. Really? Of course all of us in Durban agree that there is that one week in the year when we enjoy unmatched contribution to Durban’s poetry scene. It comes in early Spring and can sur-pass all efforts to promote Durban as a poetry hub. The Poet-ry Africa International Festival of Poetry is still the continent’s biggest poetry festival and it happens right on our doorstep. In the run-up to the festival, you see more publicized poetry nationally in a month than you see in the other 11 months of the year. I was privileged to be on last year’s line-up of main festival poets and I fondly remember boarding a flight, browsing through one of their complimentary magazines and seeing myself in it, thanks to Poetry Africa. Need I say more? And instead of hustling to be a part of the festival, Durban poets have criticiz-ing the organizers for wanting to AUDITION local poets for inclusion in it. Once again, they deserve to be on the line-up simply because they are good enough. Lah-dee-dah. All said and done, I can’t imagine a Durban without a poetry session to go to. Even though lately it feels like for every 5 po-ets who take the stage, 1 of them is a good copycat, another is a bad copycat, 2 will be vaguely interesting and 1 will remind you why you love poetry, and why you can’t miss the next session. After all, songbirds Simphiwe Dana and latest sensation Zahara were both “discovered” while performing at poetry sessions. There’s a thought.
That has its limits and that an artist quickly reaches their peak in Durban. His view prompted me to take this look at the po-etry scenes in Joburg and Durban in an attempt to understand how the city of gold compares to South Africa’s playground.
In this vein the Durban poetry scene is stagnant. It has been since the establishment of the landmark Pour-a-tree Society at the then Durban Institute of Technology in 2006. The po-ets groomed in that era had to be original as there was little to look back on in terms of role-models in the scene. (Not withstanding those who paved the way in the days of Inqaba, Nowadays and Young Basadzi gatherings).
It is this culture of competitiveness that has made America the most powerful nation in the world, and this same culture keeps poetry relevant to the media in Joburg – which is South African media by default. A show like SABC 1 Live inviting Ntsiki Mazwai as a guest performer; the Sho’t Left campaign selecting Natalia Molebatsi as one of its trend-setting ambas-sadors; Lebo Mashile gracing the cover of a glossy True Love magazine; all of these inspire poets to stand out in Joburg. Greater access to major media platforms can lead to major exposure and getting major pay.
Durban’s poetry scene is concentrated on freedom of expres-sion that borders on being selfish. If you’re with a crowd of Durban poets and suggest that they compete, it’s like sitting with church pastors and suggesting they serve alcohol at the end of each service. It’s like going against everything they believe. Poets are supposed to be humble and broke. Al-though we know that some are contributing more than oth-ers: Sbo da Poet with his Ukhozi FM rep, Siya Skhakhane and Lara Gemini Poet and Smiso Slashfire Sokhela spending unpaid hours organizing poetry events,
CHIMAMANDA THE INNOVATOR NGOZI ADICHIE Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is perhaps the most fluid writer to come out of Nigeria since Ben Okri. Her ability to inject texture and humility is almost unrivaled by any other author from her generation. But the critically acclaimed author of prize winning novels such as ‘Purple Hibiscus’ has a much more universal appeal. Her stories which centre on individual social experience have a universal appeal and have earned her fan fair in Nigeria and many other parts of the world. Prima-rily her concern however is that of the single story. As she poignantly points out in her TedTalk there is a great danger when a person has a single view or story or a person, thing or place. Her most critically acclaimed novel ‘Half of a yellow sun’ (soon to be a film) tackles this head on. It tells the story of the Nigerian people during the Biafran War, and has served as a catalyst for people to talk about their own experiences during this time. The novel covers many narratives and is potent mixture of prose and poetry that showcases Ngozi at the very height of her literary prowess.
Zadie Smith is amongst the most influential living intel -lectuals. As teacher, commentator activist and novelist she has a wide reach. The British born author was already sparking bidding wars amongst publishing houses long before she had even graduated from university. As a writer she displays a care-ful handling of the multiple layers of how people relate to each other in social situations. However, Smith has an uncanny ability of showcasing the everyday psychology of living, her ability to translate how people are influenced by popular opinion and how it shapes their everyday decisions is both uncanny and re-freshing. In her novels such as ‘White teeth’ and ‘On beauty’ she drifts from narrative to commentary and everything in between, but still manages to find the right balance of humor and reality.
ZULU BLOGGING When the first president of the ANC John Dube wrote the first Zulu novel, Insila kaShaka in 1933, he had no idea he was contributing toward the preservation of one of South Africa’s 11 official languages. Like many cultural practices, the use of isiZulu has waned over the years, despite it being the most widely spoken language in South Africa. Intercultural interactions, adaptation to the times and environment as well as the infamous “Model C” education system contribute to distortion of the language. Now speaking the language exclusively is seen as a statement, a dec-laration of heritage rather than just a normal way of life.
Although most of the literature to emerge from this period was in English, Zulu language writers were using the pen to tell the stories of the oppressed. Considering how difficult it once was to make your voice heard, let alone in your own language, one would think that in the information age, writers would take full advantage of their freedom and spaces avail-able to make their voices heard, in their language. There is certainly a demand for it, with Zulu publications, particularly newspapers flourishing, and the biggest weekly news -paper in the South Africa establishing a Zulu edition earlier this year. One would think that the online community is just as hungry for information written not only in isiZulu but in other Indigenous languages. Writing is the most difficult as -pect of language to master. That is perhaps why there are not too many Zulu language blogs online. In fact, besides my own, there is only one other that I have come across, that aims to promote not just the language but the culture as well. This is surprising, in a country where almost 25% of the population speaks the language and blogging has taken off. It would
seem we prefer to articulate ourselves in English. The Lobedu language of Limpopo is pretty much a forgotten with no cur-rent stats on the numbers of people who still speak it, no recognition as an official language and no codification. This in -dicates that there is a tie between numbers of speakers and particularly the written word that promotes a language. There is a rich Zulu oral as well as literary culture but there is a missed opportunity in the blogsphere. Language and culture are generally intertwined. But blogs by their very design allow the freedom to determine the content, including the language it is presented in and many host blog sites have different language options. It would then be fair to say that the scarcity of vernacular blogs is because of a choice by bloggers not to write in their home languages. A platform to share ones thoughts and ideas, that is what a blog is. Does the absence of Zulu blogs mean Zulu speaking people to not have thoughts or are no willing to share their ideas and opin-ions? Sure this would limit readership only to those who can read the language, even those who can sometimes be lazy to because they are not as fluent as they are in English. But it is something to consider none the less. The web is no longer the exclusive playground of urban youths, people from different backgrounds are joining the online world. There needs to be content to cater for all different tastes and preferences. There is certainly a gap for Zulu blogs and before some big wig or non Zulu speaking person initiates a movement to blogging in vernacular, those who can write in isiZulu need to make their voice heard. The future of Zulu blogs is uncertain, it is certainly a viable concept. There can only be an improvement firstly with the addition of the actual blogs, the improvement of content as well as increasing traffic to these blogs. Like Steve Biko said so many years ago, “Black is beautiful”, so is language and we would do well to take not of that next time we sign up or log in.
In the 1960’s, there arose an anti-apartheid movement called Black Consciousness. With this Steve Biko wanted to restore a pride in blackness that would first liberate the mind of the black man, which would in turn liberate him from oppressive rule. Perhaps more damaging to the black man than physical repression, was the mental slavery, indoctrinated by colonisers and the apartheid government. As Bob Marley sang, “None but ourselves can free our minds”. It was in an attempt to decolonise the minds of black people that the Black Consciousness Movement held political education classes, to consciountise people and instil in them a sense of pride in being black. To get rid of the inferiority complex that had become so embedded into peoples minds. Poetry and short stories was where the BCM found its creative voice reviving an age of old where stories were told and passed down through generations. Black literature got prominence because it was inextricably tied to black culture which the BCM sought to develop.
BUSI MHLONGO When Busi Mhlongo succumbed to breast cancer last year, I was working at a Dur-ban daily newspaper. Being a fan, I wanted to cover the story, I went out and attend-ed a memorial concert organised by her longtime friend Neil Comfort. I got what I thought was a scoop of a story, getting comfort’s side of a scandal that had marred Mam’ Busi’s death, as well as the rare opportunity to speak to her daughter, American based reggae singer Nompumelelo Mabuza-Black. Thrilled with myself I pitched the story to my editor only for it to get squashed. She did not necessarily die in poverty, she received recognition as a great songstress and was well loved and supported in South Africa and abroad. The death of this virtuoso was not newsworthy enough to print. Granted, there were other editorial considerations made my story inapplicable to the publication. WORDS: Nosipho Mngoma
In South Africa there exists a phenomenon when it comes to the death of a musician. Despite successful musical careers they die in poverty. Their deaths reveal scandals of embezzlement by record companies and managers, and people creep up from the woodwork claiming rights to this or that song. Although this was not exactly the case with Mam’ Busi, some publications carried front page sto-ries with the scandal of her supposed manager Neil Comfort withholding her ID and a tiff ensuing between him and the family. This despite the fact that Mam’ Busi had been in the care of the Comfort family before being admitted into hospital where she subsequently passed away.
There are many legendary musicians in South Africa, alive or late who have influenced the music in -dustry. Not so tangible as the queen of maskandi, even though Mam’Busi’s music overflows beyond any title it is boxed into. Comfort describes her as “not just the queen of maskandi but the Queen of music”. It is not rare to hear the names of Simphiwe Dana and Thandiswa Mazwai mentioned with that of Mam’Busi. They have themselves often counted her as an inspiration to their careers. It is clear why her music resonates with them, they have the same kind of authenticity and qual-ity. Their music is entrancing, and watching them on stage is a captivating experience. There has always been an element of spirituality about Mama’ Busi, rather than offering us the usual la-di-da, she sometimes made sounds and gave a sense of other-worldness. Her music takes you there, and far beyond. The song ‘Ntandane’ never fails to bring tears to my eyes. When Mam’ Busi performed this song, she seemed to be lamenting, singing words of gratitude to a father who beat his child like an or-phan. This would seem like a contradiction of terms, praising a father who beat you as if you did not come from him. The sincerity in her voice in entralling, her demeanour tells a story that transcends the lyrics. She would whisper one note and roar the next, showing not only her wide vocal range but also the different facets of the person she was. A lioness, and advocate for women’s empow-erment yet a traditionalist. A renowned world musician yet deeply rooted in her homeland. This was the complex personality and remarkable talent that was Busi Mhlongo and she was enough!
What was on people’s lips was not the tragedy of the loss of such a legendary musician but the scandal that marred her death. When this was shown not to be true at least to the extent re-ported, coverage moved to the backpages. On the month of her birth, it is fitting to pay tribute to a musical virtuoso who established a genre of music as unique as she was.
You studied at ADFA, tell us a little bit about that and how that experience was for you? AFDA, Johannesburg. I only did two years and for certain reasons, could not continue on to my third year. Film school is a great and necessary experience but nothing learns one like actually working in the industry. I still feel like a child in so many aspects of this art form and everyday is film school, you have to carry on learning and teaching yourself - whether it’s through hands-on learning on set, shadowing experienced directors, watching the works of other filmmakers, advanc -ing oneself through courses and wokshops or tirelessly reading up on the technical aspects. It’s necessary that the learning never stops if one is to become a master as I plan to.
Who are some of the filmmakers and films that have influenced you the most? At this infant stage in my career I am in the journey of finding my own cinematic voice and at present I am particularly drawn to the tapestries of artists like Wong Kar Wai, Ingmar Bergman and Tsai Ming- Liang. I love the more languid, minimalist approach to storytelling. Tsai Ming Liang’s What Time Is It There is my favourite film at the moment in that the entire depth of the narrative is told in the silences and through silence. It’s amazing.
You are working as a scriptwriter for Rhythm city; tell us a little bit about how that came about? That is my present occupation yes,. I started working in soap in 2008 - as a researcher at Scandal - it was my first television job. From there I started as a storyliner and trainee scriptwriter. I later moved on to Isidingo, but not before completing a lot of freelance scriptwriting, the uncertainty of which is painful!. I have now been at Rhythm City since the beginning of this year. I love it, our script team is awesome. The worlds and characters are real. I love the challenge posed by writing for a daily serial - the challenge of taking characters who have lived for so long on fresh emotional experiences. Another thing I love about soap is that it is so much for the audiences.
You have also done some work with Akin Omotoso, how did you two meet? What is it like to work with him?.
Thsishiwe Ziqubu is one of the most powerful young voices in the South African film industry. The Ladysmith born scriptwriter and director has been involved in numerous projects. Nor the least of which has been writting the script for popular E-tv soapie Rhythm City. MindMap-SA caught up with her. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your personal background? Thishiwe Ziqubu. 26. Creator of words, worlds, ideas, emotional spaces and cinematic notions. And mother of a beautiful four-year-old little girl. And also often of illusions of grandeur, I’m a dreamer, through and through.
What initially made you want to become involved in film? I grew up in my head. I have always been obsessed with the art of creating fictional worlds and in them - placing these beings imagined but real. it’s all a lifelong ecstatic journey for me. So with this obsession for narrative and character, I first took a liking to writing. As a child, I didn’t know one could make a career out of film, I didn’t know someone actually works to put those faces in the TV set. So I always wanted to write books and short stories. But then I realized that the multdimensional world of cinema appeals to me so much more, in that there is so many tools at the creator’s disposal to create these fantastical realms of emotional wonder.
The film has got positive reviews from the likes of Variety, especially your perform -ance what has that been like for you? Unbelievable. I am reeling. Variety is a well-respected critical source of cinema and their review dubbed me the brightest spot in the film and a talent to watch. I couldn’t believe it. Is very inspir -ing, especially for me as a first-time actress. It’s like a tap on the back saying I’m on the right track.
You recently premiered your own ‘Between The Lines’ at the Durban International film festival tell us a little bit about that? ‘Between The Lines’ is a seventeen-minute short I wrote and directed. It was an honour to have it premier at the festival and the reception was truly touching. Its amazing to have made a film that is opening up other doors so this is the beginning of great things.
Where do you think film is going locally and where can it improve? We’re in a great season I believe, there’s a breed of enthusiastic young filmmakers with unique styles and new approaches coming out and I love that. There is definitely room for growth, espe -cially in terms of making our industry more accessible and more profitable, i.e. we’re making cin -ema while a large part of the population (our audiences) doesn’t go to cinemas so we need to find new and innovative ways of engaging audiences with our work so it’s not just a case of filmmakers
Akin is a genius storyteller and it is an honour to be working with him. We recently shot a film, ‘Man On Ground’ which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago. I starred in the film and it was my first time working with him. I am also starring in an -other film he is directing that we will be shooting next January. I suppose Akin believed in me as an actor when I was too afraid to delve into that creative space. I used to volunteer for film festivals a lot as a teenage aspiring filmmaker - so Akin noticed me after having seen me working at a couple of different festivals and asked me why I do that. I told him of my love for cinema and how this was my way of trying to get a foot into the industry
ZEITGEIST MAN WORDS: Shivana Naidoo
It isn’t that there’s no energy afoot in the world. On any given day on any continent, one can see anti-government riots; direct actions in support of animal liberation or to protect the earth; conceited efforts to resist the building of dams, superhighways, industrial in-stallations; prison uprisings; spontaneous outbreaks of targeted van-dalism by the fed-up and pissed-off; wildcat strikes; and the energy of countless info shops, zines, primitive skills camps, schools, and gatherings; radical reading groups, Food Not Bombs, etc. The list of oppositional acts and alternative projects is formidable. What isn’t happening is the Left. Historically, it has failed monumentally. What war, depression or ecocide or genocide did it ever prevent? The Left now ex-ists mainly as a fading vehicle of protest in, the electoral circuses that fewer and fewer believe in anyway. It hasn’t been a source of inspiration in many decades. It is dying out. The Left is in our way and needs to go.
Fry has spearheaded many campaigns and projects pushing societal bounds and asking the public to listen and to stop shutting up. One of endeavors is the “Love police” campaign- it fully embraces the words your mummy always told you “Kill them with kindness”. They deliver flowers to the various police sta -tions congratulating them on a job well done, so as to speak to the collective psyche of our morally inept men and women in blue. Last year, while the world and South Africa lavished in the impending eupho-ria leading up to the soccer world cup- Kevin and various supporters of his organization were hurtled into police vans for reprimanding police who were chasing street kids away from the buildings and bridges which they were occu-pying. It was part of eThekwini municipal manager Mike Sutcliffe’s city clean up. A last ditch effort to hide Durban’s flaws from our foreign relations. With no solid resolution or placement for these children. Out of sight out of mind. But Fry does not only find solace in giving flowers to the police, he is also involved with other movements. Namely the TZM. The Zeitgeist Movement is a grassroots movement purporting to be concerned with the future of humanity. It describes itself as a sustainability advo-cacy organization, seeking a long term restructuring of human society, notably being opposed to money and advocating scientific decision making based on available resources. Fry has chosen to live his life in accordance with these values and continuously seeks to create a more aware public.
Fry is firmly of the belief in the relevance of all beings on earth and in the universe, he is a Pantheist of sort. According to Fry the rapidly mounting toll of modern life is worse than we could have imagined. A metamorphosis rushes onward, chang-ing the texture of living, the whole feel of things. In the not-so-distant past this was still only a partial modification; now the Machine converges on us, penetrating more and more to the core of our lives, promising no escape from its logic.
I’ll do it anyway”. Courage however is instinctive. This ethos in varying degrees can be seen in the popular Zeitgeist films. The series has gained huge notoriety and has gone viral on the internet. The thing about these Zeitgeist movies is that they have two aims. One is that it could actually instill a greater sense of fear than you’d imagined. It makes you think Jesus, Mohammed, Moses and Buddha it’s so big how am I even going to do this? And the other would be to tackle the problems in your own way. Midst the release of all these great films- Food inc, Earth links, The war we don’t see, Loose change, Zeitgeist- the apathy ;instead of depleting; has engulfed more and more of the popu-lace. And although many part of the world have taken to the streets demanding change, it remains to be seen whether ini-tiatives like the Zeitgeist movement will have a lasting impact on the pack-
The only stable continuity has been that of the body, and that has become vulnerable in unprecedented ways. We now in-habit a culture of high anxiety that borders on a state of out-right panic. Postmodern discourse suppresses articulations of suffering. Fry’s answer to this supposed hypocrisy that enve-lopes us all: It’s a matter of courage. According to him there are only two things in this world, bravery and courage. Bravery is actually fear with armor. It’s people who are scared that say “Dammit! 35 MindMap
The juice today is with anarchy. For about ten years now it has become steadily clearer that kids with passion and intelligence are anarchists. One such advocate for political offence is Mr Kevin Fry. An individual largely concerned with the vortex of ruin the world getting sucked into that he rarely speaks of himself. He exudes so much energy one might be convinced he has the ability to power the giant monitors of Piccadilly and Times Square, simultaneously.
“I feel that desire is one thing that’s screwed the western world. And I do feel that desire is a frustration. You know when you can’t get what you desire and you feel like you’d even kill for it. I mean look at what’s happening in America they want controlling interest of oil in fossil fuel rich countries and when they can’t get it they go bomb the whole bleeding country” he says.
that stands out the most perhaps is Vela Sikubhekile (which literally translates to show yourself we are watching) Mntambo uses skin hide to create a large ball gown.
The result is a grandiose questioning of how colonialism has influenced our culture. With the ball gown masquerading as a traditional item, Mntambo is not making a new political statement but she is making it in her own way. She is not a political artist and I think that is what is most important about Faena, it reaffirms Mntambo’s attitude and even the political questions that are brought up by her art are presented in an unassuming manner.
Unique that is perhaps the most evasive word when analysts critique the work of Nandipha Mntambo. The standard bank young artist of the year award winner has quickly become a fetish for South Afri-can art lovers and pretenders alike. So admittedly upon visiting an exhibition of her work, I had already come to my own conclusions. Not the least of which was the inner inclining to dismiss her craft as a result of her popularity. But after viewing Faena I could not help but conceded how refreshing a creative enigma she is. The show which was one of the headliners in Grahamstown has a great deal of surprise in it. It is about ripping through layers and unraveling the tenderness in her work. WORDS: Sihle Mthembu
In it there is swinging and swaying in a bull fight like tango. A vivid image that questions the role of females and how they adjust to such a masculine society. This is a potent interpretation of a world that is by and large informed by testosterone. But Mntambo is an artist that works from the inside out, that’s why I felt the installation is also a subliminal message to critics who have dubbed her as a master of skin hide, and only that. In this exhibition Mntambo meanders into a space where she is an artist in general and not a certain kind of creator with a specific defined role. Mntambo is maturing yet learning. In Faena she has however not completely turned away from the medium of skin hide but rather she has experimented with how it is presented. What stands out as both odd and yet inspired was the sheer use of the space. The exhibition has very few pieces of work, but because of Mntambo’s curios employment of shape, location and place it felt very full. The piece
One of the things that have made Mntambo so popular is her use of skin hide. Cutting, organizing and redefining the age old skins into a more modern rendition. The result is a series of work that questions roles in two fold. Firstly Faena questions the role of gender in South Africa and in the most convention-al sense. But what struck me the most about the exhibition was how Mntambo was also questioning the role that South African art had defined for her. In an act of rebellion Mntambo has created a larger than life installation.
A red carpet that was leading to the entrance with soothing sounds of live music coming over from one of the many balconies of the City Hall. Even though it took over an hour to get into the hall where this anticipated event was to take place, the mood was leaving an itch of anticipation in me, due to the fact that there was no media list at the time that the event was meant to start we had to wait as everybody else went in. WORDS: Francisca Mtshali
But this was quickly averted as Art was in the air. A few me-ters away was a line up of competitions like the ‘Sketch warz’ the photography and Flexfit cap design. One of the competi -tions that made City Hall stand still was the video competi-tion. All of these art forms were guided to draw inspiration from Durban and give their interpretations of Durban and this they did indeed beauty was an understatement. Depth in the brush strokes on every cap, canvas and a story behind every video. Upon scouting the building one saw giant sized tee-shirts hanging from the building’s ceiling. These carried on to the second floor where there were DJ’s teasing the crowd with what was on offer all night long, by the mayor’s balcony was yet another bar. Some of the many rooms in the City hall were occupied by the different restaurants Durban has from the rich smells of coffee to aromatics of bunny chows and curries. The crowd gathered down stairs as a routine by the ‘Mthombo’ gumboot entertained them. Entertainment was of cause the order of the day with a jaw dropping fashion show that was hosted by Andrea, a Durban based fashion designer for Dog Child Clothing. Models showcased designs that repre-sented the different types of Durban women, Rural Vs. Urban. With this eye-catching rendition of the catwalk came bare
breasted, flawless rows of young ladies parading from one wing of the stage to another adorned in the most precious traditional Zulu beads. More performances came with a energetic performance by a Durban ‘Krump’ crew, that got the crowd going. The results of the live Sketch warz, Flexfit Cap and Video competition were deliberated and disappointingly enough the number one places in all categories were nowhere to be seen, quite disor-ganised if from the looks of it most people had either gone to the bars as if it was ‘Get-Durban-Drunk-Day’. Sheep Down another one of Durban’s most talented punk rock band took us into the later hours of the night followed by The LeEls who were sporting Movembers (Mostaches) and the whole 70s vibe, they really got the hall dancing like it was a beer parlour. As the Night drew to a closing more and more people flood -ed in for the highly anticipated world renound Indie rock Band the Blk Jks, before they came on The City Bowl Mizers who held their own captured the crowd and got them doing more than just tapping along to their addictive and popular tunes they got the crowd dancing. By the time the Blk Jks came on many of the crowd were aggitated after having to wait so long setting up was a tad bit of a hassle considering the fact that different genres use a bit of different equipment. When the Blk Jks got on stage, the screams and cheers were close to deafening I had never heard such crisp sounds blering from speakers like that in all my life, these guys were better on stage then I had been religiously watching off Youtube for months now. A disappointment was in the air, Blk Jks didn’t get to perform not more than one old song, I would have expected a few from them. That didn’t stop the fans from attempting to sing along, It was as though every single person in the hall was in some sort of trance. The crowd wanted more as Blk Jks performed their last song with the crowd ‘Moshing’ to every single beat of the drum and string from the guitars, Screams of “Encore, Encore Encore!” pierced through the night skies.
This was the second annual Interpret Durban event hosted by Street tours and after the hype that it had generated I was cu-rios to see whether it was worthwhile or just a #fail. At long last we were let in the hall, a hall draped in blue and white fab-ric and lights, with the mood setter of tropical reggae sounds of The Meditators, this was like nothing Durbanites had ever seen and it looked like we were in for more than what we had anticipated with a line up that consisted of a few Durban bands like The City Bowl Mizers as well as Joburg outfits the Blk Jks and The LaEls. Admittedly I was slightly irked at the lack of presence of Durban groups in the line up.
A PUBLIC FETISH
NELSON MANDELA A lot has been said about Nelson Mandela, and a lot of it is cliché. Mandela is not seen as a human being anymore. He is a symbol, a mantra, to be wielded aggressively in a war of words. He is a curio to ward off the possibility of unrest. He is a modern Father Christmas, who is not allowed to die or have rest. He is a lucky charm; a face that does wonders for advertising. It is worth while pay respect to human beings like ourselves. With flesh and blood, and driven by the hunger for meaning. With the realisation that as human beings we are not infallible. WORDS: Kyle Steven Allan
When Mandela is sick, we beg him to live longer. When he dies, the world will not end. If we are truly mature individuals, we will easily identify core aspects of his legacy and keep them alive. We will also have the courage to use critical thinking and examine parts of his legacy we may disagree with, and examine it with respect. Critically, we have to accept that Mandela was not the only freedom fighter in South Africa. Amongst those people like Anton Lembede, Steve Biko, Tiro, Sobukwe are others who by fate and circumstance have not received ample recognition for their role in developing and organizing the philosophy of resistance and liberation. And often you will be surprised at how people at a grassroots level have much more of an appreciation for these people. The cause behind this is the fact that people recognise those that were there with them on the ground. This is not to say the Mandela’s role was not significant, but merely to argue that our mainstream does not reflect the diversity of views amongst ordinary citizens. In contemporary society, we have a lot of vital thinkers that are ignored by the media, which seems obsessed with stale debates between the ANC and the DA.
Malema versus Anti-Malema, and tired cliches that have very little bearing on the suffering of the public at large. There are Pan- Africanists, for instance, who have very interesting questions that should be heard as well as others. There are radical theorists, the likes of Ncebakazi Manzi and Andile Mngixitama, who believe in an extension of democracy into direct peoples power, and have done much work on the nature of power in this country. We need to understand what people really love Mandela for, and who are the people who love Mandela the most nowa-days. We need to understand his specific role in the 90s. Much of Mandelaism was only a temporary measure, but it has been made a static order of affairs now. The echoes of his legacy are now becoming convenient for personal gain.With some even going as far as saying that if you do not vote for them you will kill Madiba, talk about shameless-less promotion. Even the SABC has secured broadcast rights for his funeral. With regards to the issue of legacy, one cannot come up with a convenient summary for Mandela’s contribution. Nonracialism? No! that cannot be it, Nonracial-ism does not mean the freedom to build more malls only. At some stage, a spreading of economic power is necessary. Did heroes die so that farmers could send their children to private schools while their labourers have to send their children to farm schools or walk 20 km? These are simple questions with difficult answers. I see this daily because I live in a rural community, and my spirit is bitter with the divides between people.
So, perhaps before we make Madiba into a complete martyr maybe we should also question the extent of his output and not only those of subsequent administrations. And focus less on using him as a totem. I refer to Mandela as a totem because people cling to him and Desmond Tutu as if they were protective charms. Drop-ping their names in the middle of a conversation is a sure way to cool down any radical political debate. Mandela is pulled out of the cupboard to sponsor anything from sports teams to political parties to contradictory policies. Leave the man alone, he is old, let him die in peace. Let him sit in the inner rooms of his house, and impart the final insights of a dying man to his family. There is no greater cruelty than patronis-ing an old man with gratuitous good wishes. Old people find peace in the silences. I can’t speak on his behalf, but I can respect his dignity as a fellow African. Why are we so afraid of his death? Perhaps we fear that after his death maybe the argument of blaming apartheid for eve-rything will soon become null and have no value. We will have to take stock for our own contemporary experiences. To Tata as an elder, I respect you. I hope you are genuinely filled with much silences now. To the advertisers and the exploiters let us cut away all the verbiage and superficiality that has gathered around Madiba’s name. LET US STOP MAKING HIM A PUBLIC FETISH. o
When someone comes up with a differing opinion of Madiba, they will often be lambasted for being against the legacy of Mandela. And yet, most people refuse to define the legacy of Mandela thoroughly and where Mandela the political thinker like all human beings has limitations and, in fact where his thought ends and where the interpretations of others begin. He is a human being-understand and respect that.
N O I S I V E TEL t the l Pacino talks abouue and A re he w in e lin ere is a wonderful tended the dialog arry Glen Ross, th aps, David Manet should have ex particular reference ng le G of ks or w with In the ”. Perh have been fitting, d with the “the world of men world not being orld of creative men”. This would ck then would have not resonate lot of woow ba a e ed th en t us be e line e has said “it is no vision, granted th ld have been quite potent. Ther le te of de ca de st n it wou to the la er, in this generatio pact that has been audience. Howev nificant positive im sig e th t ou ab cs thembu hah amongst criti WORDS: Sihle M s. ar ye n last te
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WHY THE 90’s SUCKED Nostalgia is a condition that I am unfortunately very partial to and one I cannot shake easily. Everything was simply better long ago. One in their twenties only needs to look back at the years of their childhood. The nineties across the world were an excit-ing decade of change. The world fell in love with the novelty of roller blades, pigtails, beepers, Sega consoles and the Spice Girls. WORDS: Khulekani Magubane
Michael Jackson went from being the most beloved pop icon in the world to becoming a ridiculed outcast. Princess Diana shone as a beacon of hope and international philanthropist and her life was swiftly ended in an accident. Nirvana gave us one of the greatest songs ever made, Smells Like Teen Spirit. Just years later their lead Kurt Cobain, took his own life. South Africa became a democracy but quickly afterwards began to feel the growing pains that come with such change, including crime and HIV/ AIDS. What saddens me about the nineties is not the tragedies we saw unfold before us, per se. It is rather what those tragedies mean to us today. These were days of disillusionment. There was a sense of innocence and wonder to the nineties that just isn’t around today. Not only that, a lot of what was good about the decade was swiftly lost or forgotten. The world had it good. The nineties were the end of a crazy party and the beginning of a really sick hangover, if I may use such a crude metaphor. Those who look to the 90’s as the glory days of their lives are pretty much the same as the baby boomers who viewed the 70’s and 80’s. By the nineties the happy times of the disco, and media simplicity were long gone. Everything would become compressed with the arrival of the internet and the growth of mass media. While many people look back at the nineties and laugh at the bad fashion, goofy pop songs and that darned 21 Jump Street (sorry, Johnny Depp), I look back and wonder. Robbie Williams sang it quite aptly in a song called the 80’s. “Things are better when they start, that’s how the 80’s broke my heart.” Funny enough, I would say the same about the nineties.
To be honest I remember those years very fondly, as I spent most of my childhood in the nineties. Starting school in 1994, I was a democracy scholar and life was a dream. My all-time favourite movie was The Lion King and MTV still played music videos. But then something happened. I grew up. In fact I would say the same for the rest of the world. In their beginnings, the 90’s were abuzz with euphoria. Everybody was trying to learn the Macarena. In that very same decade the good times ended.
BRING BACK THE 90’s A decade before the turn of the century came an era of change, paraphrasing from the good book, it was a time of relief, happiness and a sense of victory. Like in biblical times, for South Africa, Namibia and Eritrea, it was so because of an emancipation of the oppressed from the rule of a ruthless regime and persecution based on ethnicity. WORDS: Nosipho Mngoma
We forgot that we are all African’s, as Thabo Mbeki famously declared. Some of his other utterances were not so well received, most notably those on HIV/AIDS. The pandemic did not come about in the nineties but it spread like wildfire, mak -ing orphans of children and seeing many parents burying their young. The family dynamic changed as the scourge filled up graves, leaving children to head up homes. It is an ongoing battle, one which will not disappear like the Y2K bug we heard so much about in the late nineties.
The rainbow nation was born, and all South Africans went to the polls in 1994 to make their equal voices heard. And what was the young black urban voice saying? “Don’t call me kaffir!” Struggle songs were replaced by a new sound, fusing house or garage with African beats. Artists like Arthur Mafokate and Mdu Masilela led this new chorus. The lyrical content may have been sparse but this kwaai sound resonated with the masses and from it emerged other genres and cross over music. Our world was in union.
Computers did not crash; the Y2K bug made way for the information age, outsmarted by the World Wide Web, which had been in existence for a while but increased in popularity and accessibility. It was long before the age of social networks but it sure made the world smaller and communications fast-er. The postman had less work to do and the landline rang less and less as cellphones became the norm. The bigger you “brick” and the taller the aerial the better, to better show off how technologically forward you were. Tape decks were left to collect dust in the garage as CD players came into our homes. The latest Spice Girls or backstreet boys album would be played and stopped allowing for the lyrics to be written in a song book so they could be sang back with some degree of accuracy once transcribed. The end of an era gives rise to a new one. After the euphoria of
While we were celebrating the successful hosting and winning of the Rugby World Cup and Africa Cup of nations, Tutsis were getting massacred by fellow Rwandans, the Hutus. Having yet another African Secretary General, Ghanain Kofi Annan who succeeded Boutros Boutros-Ghali from Egypt, in the United Nations, did nothing to curb the genocide where reportedly almost a million people lost their lives. From the violence that led to the downfall of Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko and the subsequent civil war, to the ongoing Somali conflict, a mass exodus was triggered to neighbouring countries. Troubles in other parts of the continent as well as the lax of our borders saw an influx of foreign nationals seeking safety, or merely bet -ter opportunities in South Africa. Considering that our struggle stalwarts had sought refuge in countries in the rest of Africa, one would have thought we would have been more welcoming. Instead we became the oppressor, giving them derogatory names and intermittently launching attacks on them.
the nineties, where unity and a sense of community was realised, when peace and harmony emerged victorious, cracks are beginning to show. We are becoming disillusioned about the powers that be, whose reforms seem to be benefitting only a chosen few. The cause célèbre is no longer the fight against racial oppression but against the tenderpreneur, the corrupt government official, and other players impact the economic emancipation of the majority. The 90’s over and a revolution is brewing let’s just hope it will not explode into a war of biblical proportions. As we approach the end of the teenage years of democracy, cracks are beginning to show as racial tensions threaten to bubble over.
After the tumultuous 80’s, the unbanning of the ANC, PAC and other political parties as well as the release of political prisoners, saw the dawn of a new day in South Africa. Our liberation may have been paid for in blood but unlike many Af-rican countries, the transition into a democratic dispensation was a fairly peaceful one. Many attribute this to the efforts of, amongst others, the face of the struggle Nelson Mandela. Reconciliation and tolerance were some of the buzz words floating around, spread through sprinklings of Madiba magic.
GREY STREET Located in the narrow and busy corridors of Ajmeri Arcade we followed the music of Joyous Celebrations, leading us to a quaint little shop called the Record King. Owned by Ibrahim Habib. He has brought to Durban the finest music ranging from all genres of gospel to rock and roll. It’s the store that brought rhythm into Durban. WORDS: Lauren Beukes
The Record King store has been running since the 1950s, giving home to hundreds of albums and satisfying many Durbanites stuck in an era of hardships and pain. One could say that with-out this store, without the music, life would be unbearable. The songs sung empowered the hopeless; it gave a peace of mind in a loud world. Owning a record of their favourite artist was the coolest item any one could own. As the years moved on so did the trends. Different types of music interested the ear, and The Record King kept on delivering. Unfortunately as the times rapidly moved on, the interest in records died which lead to its demise making way for the new cassette tapes and later, the compact CD and CD player. But against all odds Habib kept up, he never gave in. But rather he chose to merge both worlds of new and old and accommodating the CD’s along with age old record vinyls. He has proven to be a formidable business man. Since the age of 16 Habib was always business minded, he left school at 17 to work alongside his father, for as long as he could remember he has been in the music business. “But I’m not a musician and I am not a music lover” he says. “Business is just business.” The 70 year old man quickly bargains with his customer, successfully making a sale. “I’m a businessman first” he reminds me while I watch him hand over the merchandise. The music business has treated him fairly, allowing him to build a comfortable life for his family and for future generations. But it’s hard to believe that this tiny, tucked away store managed to survive 50 years against the fast evolving world that left them eating dust. He reassures me once again that he faced no threatening challenges in the past 50 years. He pointed out to me that adap-tion was the key, if he did not choose to adapt he would have been out of business years go.
Record King has become his life and livelihood and his legacy. He stopped talking as he grew tired of me. “I’m busy.” I took that as a sign to leave. But, to only return again. The next day I was welcomed with a casual greeting, he has forgotten about our earlier encounter. It was fine, today was only for observation. The journey around the store was magi-cal; the history of music was transformed into a visual timeline, from records to cassettes, CDs to DVDs. The shelves were dusty and untouched as if the records were left there too be forgotten. It was a sad but somewhat beautiful sight, it felt peaceful. If only the walls could talk and tell the full story of this magnificent store. While exploring this intriguing shop, a peculiar display caught my eye and it had nothing to do with music. Habib, a quiet old man turns out to be humble. As he fails to mention the con-tributions he makes towards the community. He laughs at me when I asked why did he not tell me about this, he shrugs his shoulders and smiles. Silently, he continues with his daily tasks. Filling up two tables were piles of roti packs, each anchored down with 20 cents. All of a sudden a storm of what I thought were customers started streaming in and I was ready to join the queue to buy a roti or two but the shop assistant laughed quietly “it’s not for sale.” Then to my own embarrassment I
realised the delicious roti was actually meant for the desper-ately hungry people who gratefully accepted their next meal. This was a selfless act thought up and executed by a selfless man. It was a surprise, one surprise that was not expected to happen. This quiet man who chooses to say less and do more intrigued me. On the outside, the owner of this little record store seems hard and strictly focused on business only. Yet he plays an im-portant role to the community both as a businessman, bringing customers to Ajmeri Arcade, and as a caring person, looking after the people that owe him nothing but gratitude. Ibrahim Habib is the best example of what a humans should be like. To act out with random kindness. To strive with a purpose, and to love his family and those around him. Habib may drum in business all the time, but sometimes the best rewards are the small contributions unheard of by the public ear.
The vintage collection of vinyl records has been strategically showcased from wall to floor. The store may seem cluttered and disorganised to a normal person. But for a music lover it is bliss to be surrounded by shelves of cd’s and old school vinyls dating back to the early beginnings of records. To the regular cool cat and snazzy lady of the modern day, vinyls and old school music usually won’t appeal to us. As long as the iPod is loaded with funky dance tunes why should we care, to us it’s just a decoration on our grandparents’ dusty old stands, ancient and useless. We were either too young or not even a figment of imagination to our parents to remember the soulful and jiving sounds of legendary artists such as; the jazzy tunes of Ray Charles to the memorable RnB jams of the Eartha Kitt and Teddy Pendergrass. Every vinyl had a memory at-tached to it; it may be the very reason why you were born when your parents made sweet love to the slow jamming of Aretha Franklin and Barry White.
As a person whose yet to exceed 700 tweets, I’m still learning online ropes so to speak. I’m a twitter infant, you might say. Starting fights with twitter fan clans is one of my favourite things to do. People really get up in arms about their favourite twillebrity/ actual celebrity. WORDS: Sabelosami Dlungwane
AND THE HASH-TAG WARZONES
The one clan I’m truly afraid of is the #Beliebers. Even I know not to mess with emotional teenage girls love struck on their own teen idol. These kids know everything about the Bieb. To put the monolopy the #beliebers have into perspective-consider this. It took Beyoncè get-ting pregnant to break a twitter record (just below 9 000 tweets per second), Justin is trending every other day. The power of the #Beliebers doesn’t end there, Justin has acquired other fan clans by associa-tion. The #Selenites for Selena Gomez, #Lovatics for Demi Lovato, #Swifties for Taylor Swift and the #Smilers for Miley Cyrus. This is serious business; the Bieb runs twitter therefore, the Bieb runs the world. At least that what many of his fans believe. In the wake of Rihanna releasing her lead single from the new album, I found myself salivating in anticipation with the #RihannaNavy. I should mention that Rihanna is the most liked/followed artist in the world. Can you say Only Girl In The World? No? I had to try. A clan is only as strong as their idols career. For example, the #Beyhive seems to be on edge as Queen Beyoncè fails to top the charts with her (awful) 4 album. These are the kind of state-ments that get one hate tweets. Even locally we seem to be developing our own brand of twillebrity. Dear Nonhle Thema has two fan clan names. #TeamNonhle and #NonhlezAngelz (although there is nothing heavenly about the woman). I imagine these tweeps are like the kids who followed the school bully around and their primary function is to echo whatever Nonhle is saying. It’s Mean Girls again, with no ending.
Not all clans have a name or a face for that matter. We all immediately take sides on every matter of interest that blows up on twitterface. After a certain Mr Scott used the ‘k’ word, divisions got serious. This is when I find twitter the most entertaining. It’s educational, sickening, funny, eye-roll inducing with every tweet. The word “umlungu” was classified as derogatory, kids learned the importance of always paying off debts and Darren became a hero in little towns around the country. TV clans are equally or if not more entertaining. They make drab television much more interesting. I know #Isidingo is just not the same without my timeline. Mother dear doesn’t appreciate the comedy that is #Generations so I rely on my tweeps for a great laugh. It’s heart-warming to know that people can find a place where they can share ideas and ideals. They also start twitter wars and, let’s be honest, what is twitter without the drama and scandal? I hear that an Afrikaans gay couple is commissioned to create these clan names. They also come up with Hollywood couple names, you know, like Brangelina or Jelina (if you don’t know who Jelina is then I give up). Even though tweeps can grind my nipples, I know someone who feels my pain is a hash tag away. Keeping with the hash tag that unites us all, #RIPTroyDavis #GoBokke! #GetMeADrink and #IDie.
A serious clan has what I call chief tweeps. These are tweeps who have been followed back by the person they revere (after a lot of butt kissing tweets). That pushes you up the ranks of the clan. More followers, retweets by your idol and twitter fame. This also means that you need to be on high alert, tweet a lot about your idol. The chief tweeps usually have a ridiculous handle like @ Bieb_Gomez or @swiftSmiler or @Beyangel.
MARRIAGE Actually it comes so naturally you don’t realize you’ve even made that connection. That is thanks to years and years of be-ing told that only a man and a woman can get married. And up until three years ago, I was from that same school of thought. As foolish as this is going to sound, I never imagined gay cou-ples wanting to get married. I assumed they thought marriage was a heterosexual “thing” and just like different cultures have their own customs, they too had their own way of doing things.
When you see or hear the word marriage, before you even start picturing the black and white tuxedo and copious amounts of white ruffled fabric, your brain au -tomatically thinks of a man and a woman. WORDS: Nomfundo Mgabadeli
To get a broader feeling on the topic, I asked my heterosexual friends what their thoughts were. They callously replied “I don’t care”. The only way they would care was if they knew the person personally. Needless to say I always assumed I had a liberal thinking group of friends, so I was somewhat surprised by their responses. They adopt the “I don’t care because it doesn’t affect me” syndrome which we all occasionally suffer from. But if left unchecked it could lead to a breeding ground of ignorance which in many cases can result in vicious hate crimes. As was the case with Eudy Simelane, an openly gay activist and a former member of South Africa’s national women’s soccer team, who was brutally gang raped and murdered in 2007 and there have been countless cases after hers. For this democracy to thrive our society needs to be less nar-row minded, more open to change their understanding and I believe education is the tool to implement this. And perhaps a few years from now when we think about marriage we will not only think of a man and woman, we could also think of a man and a man or a woman and a woman.
As I grew up and got exposed to more of that side of the world, I learned that the Lesbian-Gay, Bisexual, Trans-Gender (LGBT) community regarded, and still do regard, same sex marriage as a legal union of two people “who are in love and hope to spend the rest of their lives together”. As cheesy as that sounds gay people wanted it too but back then the country was still dealing with the transition from apartheid to democracy. More than a decade later same sex marriage was made legal. Which was a step in the right direction con-sidering that in some parts of America, a first world country, gay marriage is still seen as illegal as well as in most countries in Africa.
THE MIDDLE CLASS MAN
THE HUMORIST Azad Essa is not a conventional humorist. His many years in the media wilderness have insured that his brand of journal-ism/ writing/chapping have a king irreverence that many of his readers can relate to. The award winning blogger and author of the Zuma’s bastard is perhaps the most frank columnist to emerge out of South Africa in the last decade. His political essays are littered with the undertones of a writer who finds humor in the must dull of affairs. Known for his paradoxical one liners the Durban born satirist is fast becoming an acquired taste. Speaking on his craft he says that the most important part of getting it right is finding the right voice for every story. If that is the case than it would seem that he has found his in Zuma’s bastard. The book of satire is a must read for any politically aware individual and is a refreshing take on the issues that are so dully analysed in our newspapers and magazines and will be a handbook in documenting a generation raised on illegitimacy.
His two most recent and most loved works, ‘The Corrections’ and ‘Freedom’ showcase Franzen as a writer that is concerned with middle class discomfort. His almost conversational style of writing is forthright, clinical and un-assuming. Despite the long periods of time it takes Franzen to write a book, he is perhaps the most important living American novelist. A major part of what makes Franzen such an appealing force is that as his writing expresses his concerns both as author and citizen and many people find resonance in the later.
Jonathan Franzen is a writer’s writer much like his late best friend David Foster Wallace. He has a meticulous attention to detail that come only come from a great deal of refinement and re-refine -ment. Known for his lack of political correctness Franzen has been described by some as the Faulkner of his generation. A cloak that would be heavy for most authors but considering the strength of his novels it is one that is befitting.
WORDS: Nomfundo Mgabadeli Spring has sprung so it was only fitting that I attended the Garden of Fashion which I am ashamed to admit was my first ever fashion show. It was hosted at the Durban Botanic Gardens which showcased 16 up and coming Durban based designers. The fashion show was held over two days (which I thought was unnecessary). It could have been done in one night but I guess they did not want to overwhelm the audience with all those threads and colors.
A buyer from Mr Price asked me what I thought about the show before I could answer he said something to the effect that it was too Lindiwe Khuzwayo-eish and I agreed without realizing who Khuzwayo actually was. So being the good journalist that I am I googled her and he was right. What we had seen on the night in varying degrees was from the mould of Khuzwayo. Designers in Durban need to find their individuality in their garments and she is a great designer and all but we don’t want to see a carbon copy. I must however commend the designers on paying close attention to detail from where I was sitting (in the front row remember) I couldn’t see a stitch out-of-place. The night was closed by an auction which turned out to be dismal only one dress got sold for a mere R950 and that dress was definitely worth more. Day 2 however was much better, most of the clothes were well made and you could see the sense of direction and symmetry with each garment. I was especially impressed with Thiren Moodley of Spine, he blew me away. His garments were made without any room for error and I could actually picture myself wearing them, something the other designers did not evoke within me. But all in all it was an enjoyable experience. Perhaps next time around our designers will up the ante.
Oh and Theo Kgosinkwe’s performance. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh but I expected more from the designers and especially from Brian Maphumulo (ranked one of the top young designers in Durban) but he even failed to impress. Yes, there were those that stood out amongst the others like Slindile Skosana, Ntombenhle Sidaki and Thandeka Myeza. They stood out more because they were different from the rest even though their work looked like it all could have come from one designer.
The first show was on Friday which was supposed to start at 7pm but ended up starting an hour late. Thankfully it was a warm night in Durban so we just sat back and enjoyed the ambience. The mayor Cllr James Nxumalo opened the show and Karen Van Pletburg (a Durban based singer, virtually unknown) nearly broke her neck exiting the slippery runway after her performance. Thankfully she did it with her humour intact saying “I knew that was going to happen thank God I didn’t flash anyone”. The mood was instantly set, the crowd relaxed more in their seats and smiles could be seen everywhere. Might I just add I was sitting in the front row and those of us who know how fashion shows work, know the importance of the front row. Unfortunately that was the only exciting part of the whole affair.
IMAGES: Courtesy of sartorialist
A MAN’S SHOES Putting your best foot
An outfit is never complete without a shoe. The right shoe that is. A shoe has so much power over an outfit that it can either make or break the whole look. How many times have we watched in horror as a groom wearing a white suit makes the horrible choice of wearing brown shoes? He has immediately allowed a shoe to mess up his outfit. WORDS: Style Guru
Many people choose to plan their outfit from the shoe up. Speaking to Thabani Ndulula, a shoe salesman at a popular shoe outlet, he said that many times he had helped people he’d advised them to start with the shoe. “Planning an outfit around the shoe actually makes it easier for you to find an outfit that will match the shoe instead of finding a shoe that will match the outfit.” When it comes to gents, the shoe makes the man. It completes the outfit and separates a man from a boy. Knowing which shoe to wear with what should be a pre-requisite for any young male to become a man. Like a rite of passage.
There’s an art in choosing the right shoe. Many of our cur-rent male style icons like David Beckham, Tom Ford and Daniel Craig are all stylish men who make sure that they are dressed for the occasion and many people look at their shoe before anything else. “It shows how serious they are about a particu-lar look,” Thabani said. There is a shoe for every occasion. Some will say that men don’t have many choices when it comes to shoes compared to women. This is because of a lack of knowledge. Now that summer is coming up here are just some of the types of shoes you can wear at the different occa-sions one finds themself at during the summer season. Luckily this season it’s not about making statements, but comfort, style and classic footwear. • Choosing the right shoe is simple. First know what type of shoe you want, the price you are willing to pay and which brand you’d like and what you will wear it with. It’s pointless buying a shoe that you cannot wear with three or more out-fits. • The next thing is fit. There’s a reason why shoe outlets have a pair out of the box and that is to slip it on and see whether they fit you, are comfortable and you look good in them. • One important thing is to remember that you must never buy a shoe just because it’s in fashion. It’s stupid and shows poor judgement. As a gentleman you are supposed to be styl-ish and make sure that you are not swayed by trends, but rather make your own and make a statement every time. Some of the best shoe brands that are available for men in-clude Florsheim, Pierre Cardin, Converse, Lacoste, Levi’s and John Craig. High end brands like Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuit-
ton and Top Shop also have good selection of footwear, but at a higher prices. These are the shoes that you need at least one pair of during summer: Espadrilles, boat shoes, canvas shoes, moccasin’s, brogues and wingtips (there’s a difference), loafers, sandals and dress shoes.
THROUGH THE SCOPE It’s said that a human’s life is filled with questions. From the moment they wake up, they ask sim -ple things like what time is it? or what day is it? In their quest to find answers and logic for the more complex questions and all else that occurs, many people resort to astrology, horoscopes the reading of star signs. Astrologers say nothing in life is coincidental, everything that happens to people, even the seemingly insignificant events happen for a reason. They then claim to provide at least one of the answers as to why they happen and possibly a way to predict them in advance. WORDS: Nompilo Mnchunu
This tradition began with the ancient Greeks. They believed that a person’s life had a pre-set des-tiny which was determined by the positioning of celestial bodies including horoscopes. According to astrologers, the twelve zodiac signs are all named after a constellation, with each sign assigned to the four elements water, fire, and earth of which when applied to a person’s life, they tell their positive and negative qualities and who they are compatible with. Nowadays, the mid-sections of many newspapers and magazines carry daily predictive columns for enthusiasts. A study by Dr. Marek Kukula, a public astrologer at the Royal Observatory suggests that millions of people check their horoscopes daily. And a majority of them openly admit that it is a major part of any decision they make. The reason is because it offers a number of things that are desirable, information and assurance about the future, it’s a way to be cleared of their current situations and future decisions and a way to feel connected to the entire universe. Some receive their horoscope on-line and some have gone as far as too pay to have their complete horoscopes determined every day. “I personally believe that the stars can reveal something about your personalities and your future as
most of the time her sign readings are accurate, she finds it fascinating. “I can live without reading it, I’m not an addict I just enjoy it. At times it inspires me and it gives me hope, and at times it brushes my ego.” She does however disagree with it especially when it comes to character readings. “I feel as though they forget that although we are of the same star sign were all individuals. They give a general overview of every person that is born under that sign, they don’t give a detailed reading of what one is going through unless it’s a personal tarot reading”, said Nosipho. There are however more wider roots to questions about star signs, ones that are very likely to spark moral debates in some quarters. “It is largely dependent on one’s religious beliefs as well”, says Fatima Asmal, “I am Muslim and in Islamic principles no kind fortune telling or attempts to predict the future is permissible. It is something which Muslims are not allowed to believe in because we believe Allah is the ultimate creator.” Even though a majority of people still rely on them, critics claim that its absurdity, it is a way to fill space in newspapers and magazines. No studies have shown any scientific support for the accuracy
of horoscopes and that the methods used for interpretation makes astrology a highly criticized process. They suggest that there is no truth to horoscopes, it is a simple form of entertainment created as a way to help people daydream. Anathi Teyise says it’s a case of when you believe hard enough in something it will happen. “It’s like the Secret, it’s neither luck nor coincidence it’s just your own mindset”. your own mind set.”
my horoscope is usually shockingly accurate. There are certain occasions that I have experi-enced in my life that make me believe that astrology is not a just a superstitious hoax” says Khonzi Madlala. “I let them tell my fate, it’s always great to read that I will stumble upon wealth, find true love, attain a dream or have an exciting weekend. You can call me an addict, I cannot live through my day without reading one.” For people like Nosipho Luthuli, it’s a mere form of entertainment. A Virgo, Nosipho admits that
BUSINESS IDENTITY I share the global sentiment of identity being an important aspect of existence. And as such, I hold pride of being African and belonging to the Zulu clan. Admittedly I am not as patriotic as many of my fellow people nor do I feel the need to prove it. With that having been said, I do understand the importance of identity in the current world of globalization, dilution and lack of authenticity. However, a type of identity that I do concern over is a South African business iden-tity, one which pervades culture, race and ethnic character.
WORDS: Russell Hlongwane
Speaking of a South African business identity, I refer to a business identity that incorporates our values as a people, our mindset, as well as our intentions towards globalization. I am referring to a business model that is created by South Africans for the world. One that is acknowledged furthermore studied and adopted by multi-nations intending to trade with South Africa. As an economically promising country, South Africa has not a certain business identity that is symbolic to its people. We seem to be a mixture of Asian, German, English and American business practices. But why is it so? Is it due to our developing state? Is it because macro corpora-tions from developed countries with long standing governance have planted financial interests in the country? Meaning company- X requires each and every staff member to adopt a particu-lar mindset and attitude. This mindset and attitude embodies the principals and values of the company but not particularly that of a South African. Notice how company values have taken preference over cultural and ethnic values? As a burgeoning economy South Africans have a voice now, and it must be used to reinforce our national identity on a global scale. No longer can we afford to be seen as a pasture when foreign influence can do as it pleases. I’m employed by a large German shipping company rep -resented on all continents. In my experience of working with different countries, I’ve learnt that China has its unique business culture, Germans have their own, so do the Brits and the Arabs. West African countries have sent clear messages about the legacy of their identity. It’s either their way or you suffer the consequences of delayed results or no results at all. Part of their ‘’business identity’’ is the dash system, a practice that works outside the ‘’Western world sys-tem’’. Many would translate the dash system as simply ‘’bribery’’.
In Europe some countries communicate in their native lan-guage. It’s also said that some European countries are very particular of the term you use to refer to them. For example, there are words and labels of pre-Euro Union that one should avoid in some countries. Moving East, in shipping, some of the warring countries do not trade with a country if it has rela-tions with another opposing country. Friday is a non work-ing day in some Arabian shores due to religious commitments. Further East, one is free to wear a Sari or Qurta to work. However living as a South African in South Africa it would be frowned upon for me to wear ibheshu to my workplace. I’ve also heard cases where blacks cannot wear culturally signifi -cant items such as isiphandla, because it somehow reflects badly on the company. A petty example; Africans being traditionalists believe in shamans, traditional healers, izangoma, herbalists etc. But, these alternative healthcare providers are not recognized by corporate entities. So a patient of these practitioners cannot be excused for sick leave. It is acts like these that make one realize that the whole notion of us being a multicultural society is only limited to advertising campaigns, it does not in reality stretch to the practical aspects of our economy and professional practices. I do not intend to rebel against the system or the status quo, that rebellion would lead to severe depression. But it is worth saying that globalization is approaching rapidly and deceivingly, may we not wake up after the event without anything but traces of other countries. I ask the young new wave of professionals to exercise their intellect and help de-velop our identity. Let this identity be a positive one, one that mothers ‘ubuntu’, tolerance, charity, investment in social reha-bilitation, improved service delivery’’ and through this we will redefine ‘’success’’.
A business identity is a country’s business ethos. It’s a country’s business mannerism and sentiments towards issues such as global co-operation (harmonization of policies & conform-ance), business regulations and general business behavior or characteristics. For example, Ger-mans are perfectionists, Chinese are enduring cheap laborers, Japan is the capital of innovation, American business is brutal and so forth.
Many say these countries are still living in the dark ages. Be that as it may but we should equally note that these countries have painted a business identity for themselves. It’s not a particularly ‘’clean’’ identity but they’ve successfully created one that reflects the peoples values, their psyche and their current state of being.
CORRECTING THE MISCONCEPTION WORDS: Wendy N. Ngcobo
Stereotypes continue enforcing the delusion that men want sex and women want love. Women are perfectly capable of maintaining and preserving a sexual relationship. Let’s take Norma who is recently divorced, goes to a club and gets asked when last did she get laid. She replies “in months”. She is simply letting him know that she doesn’t want to be in a relationship, she just wants to have sex. A woman who has a large sexual appetite is usually frowned upon. Such liberated women receive labels, which can hardly ever please anyone. What is so bad about a grown woman wanting some pleasure?
No two women are exactly alike let alone when it comes to sex drive. It therefore would be a good idea not to bring all the misconceptions of previous relationships and sexual en-counters into a new one. A friend recently shared with me a marital problem she is having; her partner is rarely in the mood for sex anymore. No medical problem maybe life’s stress have diminished his sex drive while hers is still strong as ever. I’m sure he’s not the only men that finds himself in that situation and I’m definitely sure she is not the only woman that has to deal with this problem. Men are constantly blamed and cursed for having extramarital affairs but have you ever asked yourself the ques-tion. Who are these men having affairs with? Other women!
Porn actresses have sex for a living and a lot of these women have been sexually active even before doing it in front of the camera. Even though this has been compared to prostitution by critics many porn actresses have admitted that they enjoy the act of sex so why not get paid for it. Even if they were not doing porn for a living they would be having sex as much as they can. According to a British survey, 60 percent of women confirm that they watch porn movies and clips through a significantly small percentage are willing to admit that they enjoy this type of films. A survey published by Perth Now shows a similar trend. According to the poll 85 percent of women in their 30’s want more sex than they are actually getting. Statistics like these should have a direct impact on the way we as people view our sexuality. All in all individuals have different sex drives and women defi -nitely have high sex drives it just a sad fact that few men ever get to find this out. Men must be good listeners and know when their partner needs them to be sensitive or just needs to do it.
It’s a common belief and a misconception that women don’t want sex as much as men. But with more than 5 billion people on this planet this alone should state that women out there are ‘working it’. Women think, dream and want sex just like you, and there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to engage sexually. Being male or female has nothing to do with one’s levels of desire. Implying that we do not want sex is pretty much combining and stereotyping us. With that being said there are a few things that men must consider.
It took me a couple of years to finally open up my eyes to the fact that we women are just as sexual as men. You will not believe how many of many female friends say the sight of their lover naked or flaunting in his boxes turns them on. Personal-ly, I know I’m one to ask for a little striptease. What does that say about women and sex and their interest in it? Quite a lot.
COLUMBIANA Revenge is beautiful. Zoe Saldana is extremely beautiful. Logic would dictate that bringing the two together would bring about a beautiful combination, right? That’s the idea. WORDS: Khulekani Magubane
If it feels like you’ve seen this before, it’s because you probably have. The film does not deviate from anything that action films have done before, nor does it add or innovate anything. In fact, Luc Besson relies completely on the action and plot set in the story for the film to have its full effect. The movie glazes over romance and all the like, keeping it strictly fast, hard action. There is emotional intensity, as there would be with most vengeance spree flicks, which is great. That’s about as good as the film gets, in the way of action and thrills. Unfortunately Columbiana takes a very shallow look at the background of its plot. The film has caused a fair amount of controversy for what non-profit organisation Por-Columbia calls the stereotyping of Columbian culture. Columbiana is for action junkies who enjoy their guns and explosions nonstop. The cast puts on an altogether engaging performance on screen. Other than that it is not the smart-est, coolest or best action flick of the year. But it could be the sexiest.
Cataleya is a beautiful woman haunted by a troubled past. As a child her parents were murdered by the hit men of a powerful drug lord in Columbia. She witnessed the killing but man-aged to escape with her life. Cataleya found her way to the United States where she locates her uncle Emilio. From that moment the young girl decides that she wants to become a killer. We fast forward to find that Cataleya is a femme fatale assassin with a killer body and nerves of steel. She proceeds to kill every person connected to Marco, the drug lord that orchestrated her parents’ murder. A pattern becomes appar-ent to the police. Cataleya continues her killing spree while the police are on her tail. Her uncle disapproves of her ac-tions and tempers flare. It is all part of the beautiful struggle of a vengeance-fuelled killing machine.
BOB MARLEY THE STORIES BEHIND EVERY SONG
BEFORE THE FIRST WHISTLE
WORDS: Khulekani Magubane
Before reading this book, I must confess I did not at all have the rever-ence for Bob Marley’s political legacy that I do now. I have always been a fan of Marley’s music. As far as his political views, I never felt that the Natty Dread legend and I saw eye to eye.
Bob Marley did not just write songs. He conveyed messages to the masses that would later on become the catalyst for revolutionary change in Jamaica and even around the world. Maureen Sheridan understands, perhaps more than a lot of writers, the culture of reggae music and the background of Mr. Marley. This book was not meant to be a biography but a mere account of the Bob Marley’s music and what inspired it. When reading through the chapters (which are separated by album, era and song) one gets a peek into the experiences that Marley had when writing songs, including his work with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer with whom he formed The Wailers. Quotes from Marley and his loved one’s add perspective to each chapter. Excellent photography can be seen in just about every page. While the man did address heavy matters like religion, poverty, justice and politics in his music, the simplistic side to the life of Bob Marley is revealed in The Stories Behind Every Song. Wyclef Jean once wrote about Marley, stating that the differ-ence between Bob Marley and other artists of his time was that “other artists wouldn’t know what it’s like to have rain seep into their house”. Perhaps Wyclef is right. Bob Marley was a prime example that every song tells a story. And what beautiful stories they are. The book is a worthy read for peo-ple who are interested in the understanding psyche and the creative processes of Marley beyond the dreads.
Did a Manchester united player sit in John Terry`s seat in the Chelsea bus when Chelsea were going to take on Manchester United in the UEFA champions league final in Moscow? The Chel -sea and England captain is said to sit in the same seat in the bus when Chelsea are going to play a match and it is also said that he plays the same cd and ties his band three times on the way to the stadium. WORDS: Ndabenhle Mthembu
Many sports personalities have and believe in certain superstitions when they are going to play a match. German striker Mario Gomes once forgot to sing the National anthem in a junior tourna-ment he played very well that day and scored good goals after that he never sang the National anthem when he has to play a match. Sports psychologists have a mixed reaction about these su-perstitions. Citing that if a player does them they often play with confidence but if something goes wrong with the superstition before the match, players tend to have negative attitude towards their game and often make amateur mistakes. But superstitions are not a new thing nor are they only limited to soccer stars. American bas-ketball player Caron Butler would take a two litter of sugary soda before and during every game that he played he would drink half and finish the rest on half time, he believed that this gave him luck before a game a practice he started while playing in varsity for the university of Connecticut. Unfortunately for Butler he had to stop this as his team ‘The Wizards’ forced him to drink a tra-ditional sports drink or water. But sometimes the superstitions will not always be the best thing for a player’s game. Soccer star Kolo Toure from Manchester City always insists on being the last player to walk on the pitch. But that has often put him in hot water, most notably he earned a yellow card one day whilst he was waiting for Frenchman William Gallas to walk onto the pitch before him. Perhaps if players focused more on their game and less on execution of beliefs maybe they would suddenly see a surge in the quality of their game.
Robert Nesta Marley was born on the 6th of February in 1945. He would rise from his home of Nile Mile village to become one of the greatest and most beloved music icons of all time. Other than being a key figure in the Rastafarian movement, Bob Marley often saw himself as a champion for the cause of the common man.
Gone are the days when sports use to be just about the game, nowadays it’s about the money, the individuals, the trendsetters, the showstoppers and ultimately about the world renowned sports super stars. This new found stardom would put many Hollywood starts to shame. In terms of their celebrity status many sports stars easily rival or surpass their rivals in Tinsel Town. This is the exact reason why endorsement deals have become such a lucrative business for sportsmen and women alike. Forcing sport brands to literally fight over the right to have their brands as -sociated with famous playmaker. WORDS: Sim Mbatha
When it comes to these deals companies and sporting stars share a mutually beneficial relationship. The company will pay the individual for their brand to be associated with that certain individual in turn this will raise the companies profile and ultimately increase their sales. A perfect example of this would be retired basket ball great Michael Jordan. He signed a deal with Nike in 1984 while their revenue was still at $900million. He fuelled the success of Nike Air Jordan’s which made $400 million in sales. According to a Dan Wetzel article “Nike produced so much black and red clothing with Jordan that at one point there was a run on the world’s supply of red coloured thread” by the year 2008 Nike had increased their revenue to $18,6 billion. During endorsement deals sports stars like Michael Jordan are expected to appear in adver-tising campaigns both on Television and print media for that particular product.
MORE THAN A GAME
This made him public enemy number one forcing some com-panies to terminate his contract. Tiger lost approximately 20 million Euros in endorsement deals, companies like US tel-ephone giant AT8T and sports drink Gatorade dropped him in the wake of all his scandals. However throughout this rough period sport brand Nike stood by him. He currently boasts a 100 million US dollar contract with the popular sports com-pany. Tiger still remains the highest earning athlete according to Forbes highest paid athletes list despite his recent lacklus-tre performances on the field. This has been seen as a sign of loyalty for all revenue brought in by Tiger from the part of Nike or could it be just a fear of competitors snatching him up, seeing as the competition is high and fierce between sports brands. In terms of rivalries it doesn’t get bigger than Nike and Adi-das
Sports companies have become smart in terms of preventing their top athletes from crossing over to their rivals. They have introduced life time contracts to keep their athletes from switching brands. Just like Kevin Garnett signed a life time deal with Adidas so did former England Captain David Beckham. The house hold name both on and off the field signed a 100 million pound life time contract with the company. Sports brands appeal to every form of sport, but there seems to be an increase in importance of soccer sponsorships. It is interesting to note that Nike and Adidas remain dominant and superior as they often sponsor two of the best footballers in the world. Years ago it was Zidane (Adidas) and Ronaldinhio (Nike) now it is Cristiano Ronaldo (Nike) Lionel Messi (Adidas). And it goes without saying that due to the talent of such players and their own rivalries on the field, this does wonders for their sales. Sports are no longer being played on the sports fields but in the board rooms. The commercial battle field created by sporting brands has taken the attention away from the beau-tiful goals, the exquisite cover drives and the extraordinary slam-dunks more and more we are seeing sport stars make decisions that are not only about the games they love but the pay cheques they desire.
Sport brands endorsements are not only determined by the performance of the athlete on the field but their behaviour off it. How they portray themselves in public eye is a vital ingredient to the success of the trade-off. Their behaviour does not only affect them but the brands they represent as well. So if the individuals receive bad publicity and lose the very image the company portrayed, it’s very likely that the star will lose their contract. No one knows that more intimately than championship winning and highest earning sports star Tiger Woods. Arguably, the best golfer of all time, adored by fans and media alike Tiger Woods was every sports brand’s dream athlete. He was on top of his game he had the perfect family man image until shocking revelations of his many infidelities with porn stars and prostitutes were made public.
the two giants have been going at each other for years. From sponsoring sporting events to individuals, however one cannot forget the likes of Puma, Reebok and Umbro just to name a few. If you take a closer look at the Forbes list of high-est paid athletes most of the top ten are endorsed by Nike and Adidas respectively the likes of Lebron James and Tennis ace Roger Federer (Nike) and football powerhouses David Beckham and Lionel Messi (Adidas). The brand game heats up every year. The competition between sports brands are so fierce and tensely contested that there have been athletes that have switched sponsors for better deals. Kobe Braynt shook up the endorsement world, when switched from Adi-das to Nike in 2003. In that very same Tim Duncan switched from Nike to Adidas after winning his first MVP championship wearing Nike. Kevin Garnet did an all round switch when he moved from Nike to And1 eventually settling at Adidas where he signed a lifetime contract.
THE PONY CAR WORDS: Matthew Veeran
In 1961, Lee Lacocca, Vice President and General Manager of Ford Division had a vision. His vision was a car that would seat four people, have bucket seats, a floor mounted shifter, be no more than 180 inches long, weigh less than 2500 pounds, and sell for less than $2500.00. Out of this vision, the Ford Mustang was born. After many months of meetings, discus-sions and market surveys, funding was finally approved for the Mustang in September of 1962. On March 9, 1964 the first Mustang rolled off of the assembly line. Only 18 months had elapsed since the Mustang had been approved for production. In order to keep production costs down, many of the Mus-tang’s components were borrowed from the Falcon, including most of the drivetrain. With a multitude of different interior, exterior, and drivetrain options, the Mustang would be able to be ordered as plain, or as fancy, as economical, or as fast, as the buyer wanted. In general, the Mustang was designed for everyone and was advertised as “the car to be designed by you”. The Mustang is a pillar of American automotive lore, and the car that brought sporting dash and styling at a price almost anyone could afford.
The Mustang has never been an exotic car. Even the rarest, most powerful Mustangs ever built (such as the ‘69 Boss 429) were assembled with haphazard care by a UAW workforce facing a quick-moving, continuous production line with parts that were shared in common with six-cylinder Falcons, four-door Fairlanes and stripped Galaxies. Handcrafting and taking the time to do something extra special has never been part of Mustang production. But that hasn’t kept the Mustang from capturing the hearts and minds of drivers for nearly 40 years. As ordinary a car as the Mustang has always been, it has always been extraordinarily attractive.
1st Generation: (1964-1973) The 1964½, as it was later called, was available in only two models: the coupe and convertible. Both models featured a lengthened hood and shortened rear deck, chrome wraparound bumpers, chrome grille with a running horse, and full wheel covers. The interior featured “wall-to-wall” carpeting, front bucket seats or an optional front bench seat, rear bench seat, a sports car style steering wheel, floor mounted shifter, and full headliner.
2nd Generation: (1974-1978)
5th Generation (Present Models): (2005- 2009)
The new model, called the “Mustang II”, was introduced two months before the first 1973 oil crisis, and its reduced size allowed it to compete against imported sports coupés such as the Japanese Toyota Celica and the European Ford Capri.
For the 2005 to 2009 production years, the base model was powered by a 210 hp (157 kW) cast-iron block 4.0 L SOHC V6, while the GT used an aluminium block 4.6 L SOHC 3-valve Modular V8 with variable camshaft timing (VCT) that produced 300 hp (224 kW). Base models had a Tremec T-5 5-speed manual transmission with Ford’s 5R55S 5-speed automatic being optional.
3rd Generation: (1979-1993) The 1979 Mustang was based on the longer Fox platform (initially developed for the 1978 Ford Fairmont and Mercury Zephyr). The interior was restyled to accommodate four peo-ple in comfort despite a smaller rear seat. Body styles includ-ed a coupé, (notchback), hatchback, and convertible.
4th Generation: (1994-2004) In 1994 the Mustang underwent its first major redesign in fifteen years. Code-named “SN-95” by the automaker, it was based on an updated version of the rear-wheel drive Fox platform called “Fox-4”. The new styling by Patrick Schiavone incorporated several styling cues from earlier Mustangs. For the first time since 1974, a hatchback coupe model was una -vailable.
With its current design, the Mustang remains one of the only original muscle cars in constant production and continues to be one of the most popular cars in America with only the Chevy corvette being older, who is counting years anyway. The Mustang will always be the working man or women’s sports car and to this day, it has one of the most loyal fan bases of any car available in the market. With fans from sixteen to sixty or seventy, the appeal of the Mustang is as large as ever. One can only hope that Ford continues to seek out the voice of fans old and young alike when the next round of the designer’s pen is struck to blueprints and the beloved Mustang will continue to roam the streets for yet another 40 years or more.
WORDS: Pumla Luthuli
The thought reminds me of my schooling years, how I would slip into a coma like state because of my inability to comprehend the complexity of his writing skills. It was as if one would have to sit tightly with a dictionary to explain every word written in his comedies, tragedies or poems. The level of concentration I could offer to Shakespeare was equivalent to that which a student gives to maths. And I assure you, even with ‘extra lessons’, I was not good, I scrapped through it because the level of his literature tested my understanding and patience! To what degree do we owe this man? Why are we being ‘forced’ to read his publications written in the Elizabethan era, during our modern times? Can we not enjoy the English language, without ‘having’ to be sub-jected to this appraising madness to his nonsensical literature?
Having been exposed to the works of this greatly respected man, which I think is highly overrated. I concluded that no one in this modern age can comprehend his works as logical to the no-a-day people. It is not as easy as saying his work ‘sucks’ as a concluding point, however I do think I have the right to criticise that which has given me such hardship in my schooling years. Born in 1654 and died in 1616, William Shakespeare was said to have written count-less plays like ‘Twelfth Night’, a comedy which is anything but funny. If anything it’s about homosexuals, and mixed identity. This leads me to wonder about his state of mind, but everybody is entitled to their own lifestyle so I shall leave that at that. ‘Macbeth’ on the other hand is about a back stabbing and greedy friend who wants power. Also of superstition and myth, that which we have fallen into by giving glory to such writing. Let me not forget the most documented ‘romantic’ play of all time ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Do people fail to acknowledge that when he ‘apparently’ wrote this play, he had infatuated fifteen year olds in mind? And this is said to be love, how one would kill themselves all in the name of it, without logic or reason. William Shakespeare is said to be the greatest contributor to the English language as we know it, with over 29000 words he has ‘said’ to have created like ‘civil’, ‘affront’, ‘road’ amongst many others. The only leak in this story, and a huge leak at that, is that Mr Shakespeare was never educated nor was he able to read or even spell his own name correctly. Could it be, that he did not write these literatures himself? Many doubters have noted Christopher Marlo as the person behind these hugely revered works. The schooling system still pays no attention to this conspiracy and continues to put the immortal bard up on a pedestal. I am in full support of learning but please, enough. I propose we suspend all Shakespearian learning’s until there is some sort of tangible proof of him having written these works or having not. Although I must confess that the later might spark a wave of public depression. Many would feel they have been swindled out of their youth by having to study a hoax. The only thing that would match such a depression can only be found in an English class where Hamlet is being read in silence. Ahh Shakespeare to loath or not to loath? that is the question.
N E E D... B E PPE V ’ A U M O Y ND MI